Will TTP back the ISIS?

Published: July 4, 2014
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The Government of Pakistan might be obliged to put in its claws to eliminate the terrorists haunting Iraq and Syria because its own ‘bad boys’ have gone haywire out there.

Reports from various sources and news agencies are claiming that Pakistan is all geared up to tackle terrorism on a large scale. The question however is: how much can Pakistan really do, with the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, protection of its eastern borders and dealing with internal security affairs?

On the other hand, the United States has once again embarked upon a full scale procedure to eradicate the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Iraq. The US has confirmed that it is now flying armed drones over Baghdad. Pentagon has claimed that this act is for the protection of the deployed US troops in Iraq, who are there to assess the worsening security situation in the region.

With armed drones flying to tackle radical terrorists, one can only imagine what the collateral damage would be with even a singular strike. The main agenda behind the US deploying 180 of the 300 troops that Barack Obama assured to deliver to Iraq is not all too difficult to understand. But is flying armed drones to protect 180 US troops even logical?

ISIS is a known Jihadist militant group stemming from Iraq and Syria. The main aim behind this group is to create a caliphate that is in Sunni preponderance regions of Iraq and Syria. A few days back, the group captured Fallujah, Mosul and Saddam Hussein’s hometown, Tikrit, in massive military offensives.

The atrocities that are being carried out by ISIS are unspeakable. The group is trying to create a Muslim state by the use of power, not knowing that neither the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) nor the five caliphs who followed had planned to create a Muslim state; rather they aimed on creating a welfare state. Evidence of this can be found in a particular incident that took place in Madina, where punishments for a Jewish tribe were announced from the Torah and not from the Holy Quran. Thus, the ISIS, though waving the banner of Islam, might not even be familiar with it.

But then again, when was better sense ever prevalent in blood-thirsty fundamentalists?

Subsequently, in Pakistan, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is known for preaching a hard-lined stance of Sunni Islam, has become exceedingly infamous for the horrific murders of Shia civilians. Hassan Abbas, a Pakistani scholar, equates the TTP to the monstrously blood thirsty al Qaeda-derivative ISIS. The scary part is that Abbas thinks that,

“A TTP-ISIS alliance is only a matter of time.”

The first thought that came to my mind after reading Abbas’ statement was that, if a TTP-ISIS coalition does come about, then how will they operate with an entire foreign country, Iran, in the middle? The insurgency taking place in Iraq and Syria at the moment is clearly one based on the conflict between the two religious sects, Sunnis and Shias. ISIS is waging war to create a Sunni caliphate greatly influenced by the Wahhabi movement, while Iran has a Shiite population.

Hence, are we seeing a repeat of what occurred in the 1980s which ultimately led to the ‘Desert Storm’? Conversely, if TTP backs ISIS, then what the Shia population will go through in Pakistan is truly unfathomable.

Now, let’s just think for a moment that a bunch of TTP radicals join up with ISIS and carry on with their killing spree. The Government of Pakistan might be obliged to put in its claws to eliminate the terrorists haunting Iraq and Syria because its own ‘bad boys’ have gone haywire out there. But will it be successful in doing so? If yes, then how does Pakistan aim to cater to the operation in North Waziristan, protect its Eastern borders and manage internal threats from fundamentalists all the while dealing with the ISIS? How much budget for our ‘good boys’, the personnel of the armed forces, can Pakistan afford?

The answer is simple: not much.

According to the United Nations (UN), all members are duty-bound to join the peace keeping force. Thereby, Pakistan being a member of the UN may feel obliged to join the forces in Iraq to eradicate the radicals. However, this is not a war initiated by the UN; hence Pakistan should stay away from it. We already have enough on our plate.

Coming back to what the US is doing out there is another question that, although clear, has no coherent answer. Obama has sent in troops as well as military advisors in the region, but has said that no air strikes would take place. Yes, that is very logical Mr Obama but why then are “armed drones” flying in the region?

While Pakistan is in the middle of operation Zarb-e-Azb, one that the US wanted to take place for quite some time now, it cannot afford to send troops to handle the ISIS. The Right Honourable, Iain Duncan Smith, MP, has claimed that Britain will be “supporting the Americans”; whereas, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has completely opposed the United States’ actions.

Although the ISIS is not a small group and the atrocities being conducted by it are beyond barbaric, yet should the US really be flying armed drones? Would that not cause the not-so-wanted collateral damage? And lastly, doesn’t Pakistan have enough going on for it to even consider aiding the US in its own war mongering bender, even if the TTP does decide to forge an alliance with the ISIS?

What will come out of this operation in Iraq by the US, apart from the body bags that the US citizens are tired of receiving, is beyond me. We can’t give much thought to the body bags in Iraq, as those aren’t rendered to be ‘body bags’ since they are a mere ‘figure’. The point of this action by the US remains to be answered by those who have their vested interests in the region.

Perhaps, it is time for the G8 leaders to address this harrowing situation and for a serious peace keeping act to be formed in order to curtail the barbarianism that is draining the last drop of blood in the region.

Zara Hafeez

Zara Hafeez

A digital marketer, writer, a history buff, volunteer for humanitarian causes for The James Caan Foundation, UNICEF Promise for Children, among others and a tea-aholic. She tweets as @zara_hafeez (twitter.com/zara_hafeez)

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